Honda Robots Grows Up

Honda’s robot Asimo is growing up, and becoming more useful with each passing year. According to Honda, he is now ready for office jobs and will be taken in use in 2006.

Be sure to check out the movieclips of Asimo showing off his feats.

From the first article:

Only last year, Honda Motor Co.’s (7267.T) now-familiar humanoid robot, Asimo, was learning how to run and avoid tripping over obstacles. Now, the five-year-old droid is ready to take on simple office work, greeting visitors and fetching refreshments.

With more joints and flexibility of movement, Asimo can now also grip and carry a tray of drinks, placing it safely on a table.

Demonstrating its latest tricks through video footage, Honda showed the 130 cm-tall (4.25 feet) Asimo addressing a mock visitor by name and showing her to a conference room, all the while maintaining a steady and natural distance from the guest.

“Welcome, Sato-san,” Asimo said, bowing deeply as per standard Japanese etiquette.

Also with each passing year, it becomes more clear that we are about to enter an era where robots will be mainstream, thus effectively entering robotic nation.

What will happen when robots become smarter and smarter, and gradually start taking over more and more jobs?

What will happen when chauffeurs and pilots become jobless?

Will we stand by and watch the economy take hits, or will we transform our economy in time in order to guarantee a guaranteed liveable income for those who lost their jobs to automization?

According to Marshall Brain’s analysis in his robotic nation essay, the latter is the only option we’ll have. So for more details, read his essay.

For more details on the implications of artificial intelligence, and the exponential acceleration thereof, read the Singularity FAQ.

3 thoughts on “Honda Robots Grows Up

  1. Rik

    Jan-Willem, did you read the comments for the BBC-article? My god, what a bunch of idiots! I’m not the smartest – dutch: geen academische graad, drie hbo-opleidingen verknald – but I can see that people are terrified of AI, for no reason whatsoever. Far too many folks think: (falsetto) ‘robots are nice, but they shouldn’t become too clever’. Rrrright, go back a million years and think again: (falsetto) ‘monkeys are nice, but they shouldn’t become too clever’. Get it? As if we do not have differences in abstraction and education right now, as if we won’t build in something similar in robots. Yeah, protesters say, but they shouldn’t become our slaves. History in that regard is not exactly encouraging. Some robots will inevitably be used as slaves; the question is: are they going to notice? and: how do we free them?

    But of course, that no one thinks of…

  2. Jan-Willem Bats

    No, I haven’t seen the article. But especially for people who give the kinds of reactions you describe, I have written the Singularity FAQ.

    So go ahead and post the link there. 🙂

    By the way: robots as slaves will be completely ok as long as these robots do not posess conscioussness. And if they do, it will still be ok as long as they have a conscioussness that differs greatly from ours and don’t mind being used as slaves.

    Do you think the desire for power and domination is inherent to any intelligent/consciouss entity? What about feelings of pride, the need to relax and have fun, and various other human traits?

    I think not. I think it is only inherent to any being that has been produced through good old fashioned mother-nature-evolution.

  3. Explodicle

    That may be a dangerous assumption – not too long ago in my country, there were people who thought only white people understood, wanted, and deserved freedom. Heck, there are STILL people like that.

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